12 Best Post-Grunge Bands of All Time


Image of Staind band members with grunge art decals.

Staind – Author Anne Erickson, Courtesy photo

Post-grunge can be so polarizing. I don’t get the hate. Post-grunge bands are actually the first rock bands I really ever heard. I have no shame about my love for it. So, who are the best post-grunge bands of all time?

What is Post-Grunge?

Before we get into the bands, what makes a song post-grunge? In general, it’s a genre of music based on grunge that’s more commercial and radio-friendly. Most of the bands started in the mid-to-late 1990s. Hence, that’s why it’s called “post-grunge,” because it’s following Kurt Cobain’s death and the end of Nirvana.

As for production, post-grunge also has a more polished sound and higher production quality than grunge. In turn, grunge is more lo-fi and raw.

Who Are the Best Post-Grunge Bands of All Time?

12. Candlebox

Candlebox formed in the birthplace of grunge in Seattle, Washington, in the early 1990s. What’s interesting is that frontman Kevin Martin has told me in interviews that even though he and the band are from Seattle, they weren’t really part of the grunge movement, because they were a bit younger than bands such as Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.

11. Tantric

Kentucky rockers Tantric got together in 1998, so four years after Kurt Cobain’s death, and their music has a huge Nirvana influence. The group was kind of an offshoot of the band Days of the New. Tantric’s self-titled debut arrived in 2001, and the album’s lead single, “Breakdown,” was a radio hit out the gate.

10. Puddle of Mudd

I remember taking my mom to a Puddle of Mudd concert, and she turned to me and commented, “He sounds like Kurt Cobain.” It was so true. Wes Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd was a huge Nirvana fan, and their music really sounds like it could appear on “Nevermind” as a B-side or something. Puddle of Mudd’s debut, “Control,” arrived in 2000 and was a smash.

9. Bush

Some people might consider Bush more grunge than post-grunge, because they got their start a bit earlier than most of the bands on this list. But, while Gavin Rossdale and the crew formed in 1992, they didn’t release their major-label debut until 1994, “Sixteen Stone.” It came just months after Kurt Cobain’s death. I would consider Bush the second wave of grunge, but they also fit into the post-grunge genre with their popular rock songs.

8. Hinder

Hinder are on the heavier side of post-grunge when you consider songs like “Get Stoned.” But, they got big with a ballad, “Lips of an Angel” off 2005’s “Extreme Behavior.” Hinder are definitely dude rock, but they also fit the post-grunge genre well, with heavy guitars and a polished radio sound.

7. Theory of a Deadman

Theory of a Deadman were discovered by Chad Kroeger of the next band on this list, Nickelback. Like Nickelback, they’re Canadian. They also have very radio-ready songs, such as “Bad Girlfriend,” “Lowlife,” “Angel” and many more. I always forget how many of Theory of a Deadman’s song I like, and know, until I hear them in concert or a mix.

6. Nickelback

Canada’s Nickelback are perhaps the most mainstream post-grunge band on this list, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. How many rock bands can rule not only rock radio but also AC, Hot AC and Top 40? Chad Kroeger and company have a talent for writing songs that appeal to a really wide range of people, which is why the band’s music is so widespread.

5. Seether

Seether hail from South Africa, and frontman Shaun Morgan has always been proud of how Kurt Cobain was one of his biggest influences. This band shot up the rock charts immediately with their debut album, 2002’s “Disclaimer.” They’ve pretty much ruled rock radio ever since. Besides, who can forget Morgan’s very high-profile romance with Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee? They were such a hot couple back in the mid-2000s, and the bands even toured together and shared a label in Wind-Up Records, but it wasn’t destined to last.

4. 3 Doors Down

3 Doors Down broke out with their 2000 mega-hit “Kryptonite.” That song was so popular, that Brad Arnold and the guys were headlining amphitheaters when they only had one album out, 2000’s “The Better Life.” The band has continued to be influential in post-grunge and rock, and they’ve achieved a ton of chart-topping hits, such as “Here Without You,” “Loser” and “When I’m Gone.” I remember seeing them with Sevendust and Creed back in the day when I was first going to concerts, and it was so much fun.

3. Creed

Creed don’t always neatly fall into that post-grunge category. They just have a unique sound that you can’t really label post-grunge, but it’s hard to call them anything else. Maybe straight-ahead hard rock or anthemic rock? Regardless, Creed’s debut album, 1997’s “My Own Prison,” is an opus. It’s such a solid rock album with great songs, like “Torn,” “Pity for a Dime” and the title track. They’re one of post-grunge’s earliest and biggest successes. Check out their 2024 reunion tour dates here.

2. Shinedown

Shinedown are certainly one of the most popular post-grunge bands of all time. Their fans are uber loyal and make sure to sell out their amphitheater-sized shows. Shinedown have a more anthemic style of post-grunge than many of the other bands on this list, with huge hooks and choruses. Their music is also optimistic and upbeat in a genre not exactly known for it.

1. Staind

Staind are undeniably one of the first bands that earned that “post-grunge” label, but no matter what you call their music, you can’t deny that Staind just make great rock songs. One of the first rock songs I ever heard was “Outside,” followed by “It’s Been a While.” Aaron Lewis has the ability to really make you feel what he’s feeling as he’s singing. That coupled with Mike Mushok’s incredibly grunge guitar playing makes for some of the greatest songs in the post-grunge genre. The guys are still a force in rock music, too. They just released a new album, “Confessions of the Fallen,” in 2023. Find Audio Ink Radio’s interview with Staind guitarist Mike Mushok here.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Features, Grunge, Music, Rock